“We have already swapped 7,000 mobile sites. They are LTE ready. Based on this transformation we have started offering LTE in Varanasi. We expect entire network will be upgraded by end of this financial year,” said Telenor India Chief Executive officer Sharad Mehrotra.
The official statement from Sharad Mehrotra assumes significance because Telenor rivals such as BSNL, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Reliance Communications will be launching 4G services soon. Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have already launched 4G.
Chinese telecom equipment vendor Huawei has recently bagged a Rs 1,240 crore telecom contract from Telenor for modernizing all its 25,000 mobile base station in six telecom circles.
Telenor India provides mobile services in UP (West), UP (East), Bihar (including Jharkhand), Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana), Maharashtra and Gujarat. Together, these circles account for more than 50 percent of India’s population. The company has permit for launching telecom services in Assam but is yet to start its mobile services.
Telenor India’s 30 percent customers are using data, while the balance 70 percent are using voice services. Telenor can improve its India revenue if it is successful in competing with established rivals in the rapidly growing data space in India.
“Future is of high speed but at same time first time data users that are trying to experiment with internet on network like Telenor. We have our own target segment. As customer evolves they expect higher service. In future we have to have high speed data play. We are looking at spectrum auction very closely,” Mehrotra said.
Telenor, which has 51.4 million subscribers in India, is following a three-pillar strategy. Telenor aims to be the best in basic mobile services, mass-market distributor, and low cost operator. The strategy of Telenor has helped the telecom company grow to the 4th position in customer market share in its operational six circles.
Telenor India does not have 3G license. Investment in 4G is very important for Telenor to keep the business running in India since all telecom network operators are targeting high growth from data business.